Anton Nel



Competition Winner

Born: 1961 (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Anton Nel, winner of the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition, tours internationally as recitalist, concerto soloist, chamber musician and teacher.  Highlights in the United States include performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, and Detroit symphonies to name a few, as well as recitals coast to coast. Abroad he has appeared at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, major venues in China and Korea, and undertakes regular tours to South Africa. Much sought after as a chamber musician he frequently appears with some of the world’s finest instrumentalists and singers at festivals on four continents.  

He holds the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Chair at the University of Texas at Austin where he heads the Division of Keyboard Studies; is currently a Visiting Professor at Manhattan School of Music and teaches annual masterclasses at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto.  During the summers he is on the artist-faculties of the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival. He also held professorships at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan, where he was chairman of the piano department.

Following an auspicious debut at the age of twelve with Beethoven’s C Major Concerto after only two years of study, the Johannesburg native captured first prizes in all the major South African competitions while still in his teens, toured his native country extensively, and became a well-known radio and television personality. He is a graduate of the University of Witwatersand, where he studied with Adolph Hallis. He came to the U.S. in 1983 to attend the University of Cincinnati where he worked with Bela Siki and Frank Weinstock.  In addition to garnering many awards from his alma mater during this three-year period, he was prizewinner at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition in England, and won several first prizes at the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition in 1986.

Mr. Nel is also an avid harpsichordist and fortepianist, and serves on the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation's Board of Directors.

The New York Times review, November 3, 1988 (Anton Nel's Naumburg concert)

Review/Music; Naumburg Winer in Recital

"Anton Nel, the 26-year-old pianist who won the Naumburg competition last year, played a recital at Alice Tully Hall on Tuesday evening and made an impression as a musician firmly in control of his instrument and committed to finding something of his own in each of the works he selected.

The most substantial of these were the Beethoven ''Appassionata'' sonata, Schumann's Symphonic Etudes and Daniel Welcher's angular Sonatina. Mr. Nel's readings yielded some interesting and at times moving results, although his interpretive approach had a certain formulaic invariability.

He began each of the large works with a gentle, quiet resolve, drawing in the listener with the delicacy of his touch and the intensity of his engagement with the work at hand. Once that concentration was established, he let loose, so that Beethoven's impassioned cascades and Schumann's marchy climax could make their more visceral conquests. Yet even in these moments of seeming abandon, his renderings were note perfect and his textures crystalline.

Also on Mr. Nel's program were a Beethoven Rondo (Op. 51, No. 2), brief works by Chabrier and Faure, and Poulenc's exuberantly splashy ''Caprice Italien.'' Allan Kozinn



1987 Piano Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

1987 Philip Naumburg Solo Recording Prize (Anton Nel)

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